"Sounds like an official mix"

the mainstream aesthetics of amateur remix production

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


This paper is based on participant observation that I have carried out on GYBO (Get Your Bootleg On), an online forum devoted to mash-ups and remixes. In 2006, I advertised a mash-up of Madonna's 'Jump' (2006) and Sneaky Sound System's 'Pictures' (2006) on the site. One person's response to the track was: This feels like an official release ... Well done mate! The comparison to an official release was intended as a compliment, and this signals a shift away from the sorts of values espoused by many rock musicians (Keightly, 2001: 109). The amateur producers who participate on GYBO tend to adopt a very different aesthetic. Rather than being praised for subverting the norms of the Top 40, their tracks are often measured according to how well they approximate the Top 40. Indeed, GYBO's 'history' page proudly notes that chart successes such as Mylo's 'Doctor Pressure' (2005) originated on this website. In this context, phrases such as 'sounds like an official mix' are compliments rather than insults. In this paper, I will argue that this set of values affects both the production and the reception of amateur remixes posted online. To borrow Richard Dyer's phrase, this paper illustrates how 'the people' try to be as much like 'professionals' as possible (Dyer, 1990: 411-412). In the context of online amateur remix production, a preference for 'slick' production may well be seen as a demonstration of skill rather than a form of 'selling out' to the interests of multi-national record companies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStuck in the middle
Subtitle of host publicationthe mainstream and its discontents : selected proceedings from the 2008 IASPM-ANZ Conference, Griffith University, Brisbane
EditorsCatherine Strong, Michelle Phillipov
Place of PublicationAuckland
PublisherInternational Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-ANZ)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780958149716
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Association for the Study of Popular Music Australia-New Zealand Conference - Brisbane
Duration: 28 Nov 200830 Nov 2008


ConferenceInternational Association for the Study of Popular Music Australia-New Zealand Conference

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of '"Sounds like an official mix": the mainstream aesthetics of amateur remix production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this